New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 3, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung □ Thursday July 3,1997 □ 3AMora! path can safely lead from secrecy of confessional
Dear Abby: You printed a query from the Baptist regarding the secrecy of the Catholic confessional. The writer asked whether a priest would disclose the confession of a murderer if disclosure would save the life of a wrongly convicted person who is to be executed for a crime he did not commit.
The response from Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles stated that the priest could refuse absolution to the real murderer if he refused to turn himself in to die police, but under no circumstances could the priest break the secrecy seal of the confessional, even to save the life of the innocent person who is about to be executed.
As an ethics teacher in a Catholic college, I find this answer unsatisfactory. When I discuss such dilemmas with students, I encourage
them to find a solution that will respect the moral demands of both horns of the dilemma. In this case, the priest should try to save the life of the innocent convict while also respecting the confidentiality of his penitent.
For example, the priest could document the details provided by the real murderer and take the statement
to appropriate authorities, while keeping the identity of the murderer anonymous. Although the priest’s evidence is hearsay and may not be admissible in a trial court, his willingness to swear that he has heard the confession of the murderer and is convinced it is authentic should at least lead authorities to-reconsider the planned execution.
Cardinal Mahoney’s argument for absolute secrecy on grounds that penitents could stop using the sacrament if they were not guaranteed secrecy is parallel to arguments made by psychiatrists in die Tarasoff case, where a patient had told his psychiatrists he planned to kill Ids girlfriend and then carried out the threat. On appeal, the California Supreme Court rejected the
psychiatrist’s argument supporting absolute confidentiality, saying that a psychiatrist had a duty to warn or protect an identifiable potential victim, and enunciated the principle now universally accepted by psychiatrists, therapists and social workers.
Confidentiality is limited by the right of others not to be harmed, and is most strongly limited by the right to life held by innocent persons.
CAROL A. TAUER, ST. PAUL, MINN.
Dear Ms. Tauer: When I printed the question, abd then Cardinal Mahoney’s response, I had no idea it would generate suchjuflood of angry letters. Some were from Catholics accusing me of having printed an Manti-Catholic, trick
question.” However, most were from treaders who vigorously disagreed with the church’s position on allowing an innocent person to die for a crime he did not commit.
Since I am not of the Catholic faith, I hesitate to criticize church doctrine. However, I think your letter is an important one, and your argument has merit.
Dear Abby: I just finished reading about another senseless crime. A high school student fatally gunned down his high school principal and one of his “tormentors.” The most troubling part of the tragedy is that the killer’s friends knew that he had frequently made death threats. However, they didn’t think he would carry it through because it was “just,
you know, teen talk.”
Anyone who considers this kind of conversation “just talk” is making a terrible mistake by not confiding in someone who can help. I am out of high school only 16 years, but no one in our school ever spoke that way. Is violence the only way people believe they can solve their problems?
SCARED MOTHER OF TWO
Dear Scared Mother: Don’t be too hard on teen-agers who may not have realized the seriousness of such a threat However, let me go on record: Death threats and threats of suicide are both serious, and should be reported to a responsible adult. They are indications of serious underlying problems for which professional intervention is essential.ReavesFrom Page 1
doesn’t want them to be behind other districts and he wants them to be ready for college.”
Mark Scheffler, associate
superintendent for Northeast Independent School District, was an assistant principal under Reaves at Lee High School. He said Reaves would refuse to take the popular approach if it was not in the best interest of students, and Reaves challenged his faculty to think in those terms.
Scheffler said when a decision
could not be reached on an issue, Reaves simply would ask if it was in the best interest of the student “If we couldn’t answer him with a lot of confidence, he would tell us to go back to the drawing board and rethink it,” Scheffler said.
Ivan Fitzwater was superintendent at NEISD, and Reaves was his first administrative assistant. He said Reaves was “one of the brightest young men I knew.”
“His career took off like a rocket, and in every assignment he ever had he did it very well,” Fitzwater said. “He wants what is best for kids and
won't let anyone stand in the way of that”
In addition to being described as a children’s advocate, colleagues also described Reaves as fair, sensitive, genuine, professional and intelligent.
Roy Benavides, executive director for the Education Service Center, said Reaves was also demanding of his employees.
“He’s a challenge to work for because he’s not going to let you sit back and maintain the status quo,” said Benavides. “His general philosophy is based around serving others.”
Fitzwater said he saw Reaves as a firm leader who could be gentle at the same time, realizing that “you don’t have to be loud when you say
These colleagues also were able to shed light as to who Reaves the person is.
They described him as a good and trustworthy friend — honest, reliable, a good family man and a fun person to be around.
“He kind of zings you without you knowing it, it hits you about an hour later,” said Scheffler, referring to Reaves “dry sense of humor and
Benavides said Reeves has a confidence and presence about him, but “fee's not as complex as you might think.” He said he may look stoic, but he’s just “pensive.”
Benavides added, “What you see is what you get. He doesn’t put on a facade.”
Although Reaves has not been in the community long, he already is looking for ways to get involved. Reaves said he joined New Braunfels Rotary and planned to join other organizations “because I get to know the people ”
Reaves said once he had finished the transition period and had a better grasp on where the district was, he planned “to take it to the next level.” “Part of the process to that is you need to know where you are and where you want to be” he said. “Then you work toward it.”
Reaves and his wife have two children, a daughter who is 25 and working in Houston and a son who is 21 and works in the criminal justice field. Reaves’ wife Jeanette will teach at OakRun School during the upcoming school year.MarsFrom Page 1
The third spacecraft, Mars ’96 from Russia, also was launched in November 19%.
Eric Hayne, a spokesperson for the National Aeronautics Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said the job of Pathfinder is to look at Mars’ environment.
“It is a geology mission,” Hayne said. “They (spacecraft) will be studying not only the geology but the weather conditions and atnKMphere (as well).”Tuans facing higher Insurance rates
AUSTIN (AP) — Many Texas homeowners could face up to double-digit increases to the cost of their insurance policies.
Texas Insurance Commissioner Elton Bomer on Wednesday heard arguments from insurer and consumer groups on the setting of residential property benchmark rates.
Regulated insurance companies, covering about one-third of Texas’ residential property, set their rates from 30 percent above to 30 percent below the benchmark rate set in each of the state’s 23 rating territories.
Unregulated companies cover the majority of Texas homes.
Early voting for the Aug. 9 election to fill four seats on die New Braunfels Independent School District board of trustees begins July 21, and residents will have several opportunities to get to know the candidates.
There are two at-large seats up for election, as well as the District I seat and the remaining year of the District 4 term. At-large seats cover the entire NBISD district, and any registered voter in the district can vole in the at-
Pathfinder is a tetrahedral-shaped spacecraft weighing 772 pounds and 32 feet tall.
On its trip to Mars, Hayne said, Pathfinder will have a weather station, a camera unit and communications hardware for the mission. A stereo imager mounted on an extendible mast with 12 spectral filters and an atmospheric structure instrument will be on the lander as well.
Pathfinder carries a rover. Sojourner, which was carried in a stowed configuration with its chassis and Wheels (bided up like an accordion to the lander.
Regulated rates within the territories vary widely, based on insurance companies’ policies, the location of the insured properties and other factors. The Insurance Department encourages Texans to shop around.
Two state administrative judges have urged Bomer to approve an overall 13.5 percent increase to the statewide average benchmark rate. That includes a 14.8 percent increase to the average benchmark for homeowners* policies and no change to the renters’ average benchmark.convicted of bank fraud
AUSTIN (AP) — State Land Commissioner Garry Mauro is
large races. District I straddles Interstate 35, from the Guadalupe River to the county line. District 4 coven the area immediately west of Business 1-35 and south of the Guadalupe River.
The following are the voter forums currently scheduled:
■ Association of Texas Professional Educators and Texas State Teachen Association, 7 p.m. July 22 at the Education Center.
“The Sojourner rover will travel across the terrain of Mars,” Hayne said. “The Sojourner has a couple of geology analyzers which will look at the rock scenery and see what’s going on. It has a spectral analyzer which allows to determine the chemical makeup of rocks are.” Hayne said Pathfinder’s primary mission will be for 30 days and that depending on its batteries should be in operation for about a year.
“Any (more) missions (to Mars) in the future will be based on what we teamed here,” Hayne said.
Pathfinder is part of the Mars Surveyor program, which is NASA’s
defending a decision to hire a man convicted of bank fraud to help direct a new, $52 million veterans nursing-home program.
The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday reported the May 16 hiring of Ruben Johnson, a onetime Democratic contributor, as director of special projects at the General Land Office.
The post pays Johnson, who’s on probation after serving most of an eight-year federal prison sentence, $61,343 a year.
“I believe in giving people a second chance,” Mauro said Wednesday in a written statement.
“I hired Ruben Johnson because of his expertise, even though I knew it might generate some headlines. But I hire people based on their qualifications, not political
■ League of Women Voters, 7 p.m. July 24 at the Education Center
■ New Braunfels Rotary, noon July 30, at the Comal County Senior Citizen Center. All candidates will have five minutes to tell the audience about themselves and their campaign. There will not be time for questions and answers, lf you plan to eat with the Rotary Chib, you need to let the group know.
program of robotic exploration of Mars. The purpose of the program is to help scientists to know more about potential past life on Mars, climate and resources which could give researchers clues about the future of Earth’s environment.
NASA has a goal of sending two pair of spacecraft every 26 months to Mars to the year 2005.
The Global Surveyor will arrive in the Mars atmosphere in September.
“It achieves orbit after Pathfinder (lands),” Hayne said. “The Mars Orbiter will map the entire surface of the planet and have more detailed
considerations, and that’s one reason we have the best veterans program in the country,” said Mauro, who is considering a run for governor next year.
instruments on it than Viking (lander) did 20 years ago.”
Pathfinder is expected to land in the ancient flood basin known as Ares Vallis.
Updates on the mission can be found on the Web at http://www.nasa.gov. This connects to 15 corporate and public web sites as well as five international web sites.
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Play it safe this Fourth of July. Avoid using fireworks in open fields and near wooden utility poles. The combination of exploding fireworks and grass dried by the Texas summer
__could be a combustible one.
lf a fire does start on or near a utility pole, contact your local fire department and the nearest PEC office for help. And have a happy and safe Independence Day.
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